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ESPN suspends Dan Le Batard for LeBron billboards

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20140806-150838.jpg

What started out as a fun, attention-grabbing prank has apparently gotten Miami’s Dan Le Batard into some hot water. Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports that Le Batard, host of a nationally aired radio show and ESPN’s Dan Le Batard is Highly Questionable, has been suspended from the air for two days. The four-letter network is reportedly none too pleased with the long-time columnist spearheading the “You’re Welcome, LeBron” billboards that have been popping up around Akron, Ohio in advance of LeBron James’ “Homecoming” which is planned for Friday.

Per Jackson:

An ESPN statement says Le Batard’s recent stunt does not reflect ESPN’s standards and brand Additionally, we were not made aware of his plans in advance.

As The Big Lead points out, Part of LeBatard’s rise at ESPN over the last few years is precisely because of bits like this—more intelligent and clever than a trolling hot take—so the suspension comes as a bit of a surprise considering all of the other items (countless ones, in fact) the company could hand pick out the grab bag of could-be punishable offenses.

Le Batard is scheduled to return to television and his (very entertaining) radio show on Monday. No word on if he plans to make use of his free time by heading north for the weekend.

  • Stupid

  • Aka don’t bite the hand that feeds.

  • eldaveablo

    Maybe since the Worldwide Leader lost the big scoop to SI, they decided to brown nose a bit?

  • CB Everett

    Well if you’re going to pull a prank, LeTard, at least make it funny. It wasn’t witty in the least bit.

    Also, I don’t buy the premise that he was just trying to troll LeBron (as opposed to generally trolling CLE fans who actually get hit with the billboards). He was being a widespread troll.

    I’m guessing he got ESPN fallout because he pissed off team LBJ and people in this market.

  • The_Real_Shamrock
  • Wow

    Lol ESPN has standards?

  • Harv 21

    actually, I’m wondering if this is ESPN generating attention for itself. “What will that crazy guy do next? We just can’t control him! Best not miss him, he’s Howard Stern, kinda sorta.”

    Ratings uber alles.

  • nj0

    stupid prank = telling women to not force men to hit them

    And I love how ESPN doesn’t even have the balls to use the word “suspend”. (Or if they do, I’ve never seen that particular language used.) They just remove them from the show for a couple of days.

  • this is appropriate by espn.

    you cant have national hosts trolling local markets. as a secondary matter, he’s objectively full of crap on this topic specifically.

    glad and surprised by it.

  • left out

    the heat franchise and fans should be thanking lebron for those titles. years before 2010, they were mediocre at best and couldn’t get out of the first round with wade alone. we’ll see again how they do with him and bosh. first round exit

  • Bob

    “Le Batard’s recent stunt does not reflect ESPN’s standards and brand Additionally, we were not made aware of his plans in advance.”

    1st part is the usual copy/paste comment. 2nd part is interesting.
    Translation: ESPN demands to have their input when trashing Cleveland.

  • Guest

    Maybe someone can slip this under Le Batard’s cell door.

  • The_Matt_Of_Akron

    I notice he used Comic Sans in the first phrase. Attention to detail is key in situations like this…

  • mgbode

    and yet, we eat it up nearly everytime.

  • 1. I am opposed to anything that starts “you can’t” unless it involves actual real live laws.
    2. When going for jokes and trying to be funny, you’re specifically allowed to be objectively full of crap.
    3. Again, going for jokes…
    4. Jokes…
    5. Matter of opinion. Sounds pretty sensitive to me.

  • BenRM

    Until you pointed this out, I didn’t notice. That’s hilarious.

  • nj0

    I tend to go with kanicki over lyndall on most controversies-spats, but I don’t see the big deal here outside of it not being all that funny.

    I think there is a wicked sort of logic to it all too – so many Cavs fans felt obliged for a certain level of treatment from Lebron. Why can’t Miami fans expect the same?

  • i get that you like lebatard but i dont understand it.

    re ‘you cant’ — yes sure craig you ‘can’ do things provided they dont break laws. as in, you ‘can’ hire insurance reps who insult your customers.. you would simply lose business. and you ‘can’ choose to lose that business, it’s a free country. espn is choosing to mitigate the damage to theirs which was being done by their employee on platform.

  • MrCleaveland

    1. Craig, you can’t be serious.

  • MrCleaveland

    Hey ESPN, if you hire a clown, don’t be upset when he does clown things.

  • nj0

    You can do things that break the law, but you can’t put your elbow in your ear.

  • nj0

    And I’m sure ESPN is beating their breast at all this free media attention this is getting.

    I don’t get ESPN’s business model. It seems like 90% of sports fans hate 90% of their commentators, yet people still watch and talk about them. So I don’t see this as costing ESPN viewers. It’s actually how they do business. Just surprised it works.

  • saggy

    not a fan of him using comic sans. unoriginal. I get what he thinks he is going for but, meh. He could have made a bolder statement with, say, Wingdings, or something otherwise also crazy and unique.

    (and, yes, i am aware that Wingings isn’t actually English, but it’s a funny word and i thought it would make my post more funnierish.)

  • Topazinator

    Who the hell is this guy, LeBron? Some Frenchman?

  • Robert Hagen

    I thought ESPN would be ok after communist/liberal/fascist Olberman had left. I was wrong. They are on a ‘censorship in the name of liberalism’ war path. They have a right to build, and protect their reputation, but why have talk shows when you can’t talk. Now, they just aren’t believable.

  • RC

    Let’s make sure we are quoting factually. Smith said for women to avoid provoking wrong actions. Which is great advice. Women or anybody in this world can provoke wrong actions. Example, I walk into a all bloods neighborhood wearing blue and they kill me. Did I deserve to die, hell no. But I damn sure would have provoked it because I knew better. People are confusing the words provoke with deserve. Provoke- deliberately try to annoy someone or make them angry